Area 52’s Guide to Saga
A brief note about spoilers: This article will contain a few mild spoilers in the form of character names and background information. This article will avoid details on major plot shifts, character progression, side-stories, surprises, or when your favorite characters get killed.
What is Saga?
Here is the “official” description from Image comics:
Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples, published monthly by Image Comics. The series is heavily influenced by Star Wars, and based on ideas Vaughan conceived both as a child and as a parent. It depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series.
Saga has been compared to Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Romeo & Juliet, Lord of the Rings, and Turner & Hooch. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) Though the comic easily slips into many genres, the setting takes a backseat to the amazing characters. This comic has winged people; horned people; 8-legged spidertaurs; and people with CRT television sets for heads — but after a few pages, they all seem real.
Saga is definitely not a book for kids. If it were a movie, it would have a well-earned R rating. Saga is a book that pulls no punches, takes no chances, and will attempt to shock you from the very first panel on — and usually succeed.
This panel is from Saga #29. The panel that follows this one is the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen in a comic book.
The Landfall Coalition is composed of Landfall (the largest planet in the Galaxy) and its followers. The group is the most technologically advanced civilization in the world. Landfall natives are easily identified by their wings, though many other species occupy the planet. Landfall’s military is backed by the Robot Kingdom, a planet of humanoids with TVs for heads. (Just go with it.)
The Narrative is composed of Wreath, Landfall’s only moon, and its supporters. Natives of Wreath, pejoratively called “Moonies,” are often identified by their horns. They do not have access to the technology of Landfall, but make up for it by wielding magic.
The Landfall Coalition and The Narrative has been at war for as long as anyone remembers. There is little hope of peace between the two groups — in fact, neither faction is actively pursuing it. Ironically, Landfall and Wreath themselves are largely untouched by the war; their residents live in relative peace. The destruction of either planet will destroy both. Instead of fighting on their home fronts, both factions outsource the war to other planets. Because of this, nearly every other planet in the galaxy is impacted the war, as they are forced to choose sides.
Saga’s worlds include a variety of locales including lush meadows, spooky caves, technological metropolises, lava swamps, rocketship forests… and a place called Sextillion.
Marko is a native of Wreath. He is a pacifist and wants nothing to do with the war. Alana is a soldier who previously served in the Coalition army. Together they have done the unthinkable — they fell in love. This is compounded by the impossible — they produced a child. Baby Hazel is living proof that the two factions can end hostilities and perhaps one day live in peace. She proves that Landfall and Wreath are not just philosophically compatible; they are also biologically compatible. If the truth about Hazel gets out, it can destabilize the culture of Landfall. The Landfall Coalition is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the status quo in check.
Saga is Hazel’s story. It’s the story of Marko and Alana’s struggle to keep their child safe in a world that doesn’t want her to exist. If you read through the volumes of Saga, you’ll find talking animals, scary ghosts, threatening dragons, soldiers of fortune, and the occasional bad drug trip — but at it’s core, Saga is about a family doing what needs to be done to remain together.
Saga boasts a wide array of characters. No details will be revealed here — you’ll have to discover them for yourself.